On June 23, 1939, Congress authorized a Coast Guard “Reserve” to promote safety on and over the high seas and the nation’s navigable waters. At the time, the Reserve was a non-military service made up of citizen volunteers who owned motorboats or yachts. Two years later, a military reserve was created and the volunteers of the Coast Guard Reserve formed the Coast Guard Auxiliary which continues to be the civilian arm of the service to this day.
Over the past seven decades, the Coast Guard Auxiliary has grown to more than 30,000 members committed to keeping the nation’s waterways safe. From search and rescue to vessel safety checks to boating safety courses, wherever America’s recreational boaters are, you’ll find the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
In 1996, the Auxiliary’s mission was expanded to allow for an important role in all of the service’s non-military and non-law enforcement activities. Auxiliarists now work side-by-side with active duty Coasties and Reservists on missions. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is currently supporting the Deepwater Horizon Response in the Gulf region.
If you’re out on the water today (or this weekend) and encounter an Auxiliarist, take the time to thank him or her for their service and wish them a happy birthday!